UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


What UCL teaching and learning will be like in 2021–22

We are looking forward to welcoming our new and returning students to the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction this autumn.

We are planning an exciting academic year for students. Here you can find details of our plans for teaching and learning, but please note these are subject to change, depending on Government advice and guidance. Any updates to our plans will be sent to applicants by email and posted here. Keep up to date on the latest coronavirus guidance from UCL on the UCL Coronavirus Hub.

Our plans for teaching and learning

Our UCL education in 2021–22 will be campus based, as we strongly believe in the huge benefits of attending university in person. The last year has taught us a lot about how to support our students’ academic progress with digital technology and many students have told us that they have enjoyed the flexibility of online lectures and having access to content and activities that they can work through at their own pace. Learning in this way also prepares our students for the increasingly digital-first environment you’ll encounter after graduation. However, students and staff alike agree that meaningful face-to-face education is the priority, so that they can interact more easily with fellow students and teachers and be part of a community that is alive with research and academic scholarship.

As previously announced, most programmes will be a blend of in-person and online teaching and learning, designed to support students to progress and succeed academically. Our 'blended by design' approach responds to the feedback of our students – and builds on the continuous refinement of UCL education over the last year.

Across UCL, most small group teaching – including tutorials, seminars, workshops, laboratory – will be in person and most of your large group teaching will be online. Online, students will learn through a mix of interactive live sessions and engaging digital learning activities that you can work through at your own pace. Assuming face-to-face teaching can go ahead next term, depending on module selections, most modules will have a mixture of online and face-to-face elements. Assessments will be a mixture including written coursework with different styles and lengths, oral presentations gauged to different audiences, online tests, and other subject-specific assessment styles. All students will be required to do both individual assessments and some assessments that comprise group work. Note the exact balance of assessments will depend on optional modules chosen.

We have written to applicants recently with further details about your programme and we will update you again in early September with advice about selecting your modules for Term One.

Our students and staff place huge value on in-person interaction with fellow students in and outside their academic programme, and you will have many opportunities for informal learning, networking and connecting with your fellow students, on campus and online. The Students’ Union is arranging a comprehensive programme of in-person events for the new term, including all of our club and society activity. In addition, we have been working closely with UCL Libraries to make sure you have good study facilities on campus and the physical and digital materials you need for independent study and analysis, developing your skills as an active researcher.  

Term One

Term 1 begins on Monday 27th September. This week will have a variety of induction activities scheduled for you which should be attend. Formal teaching then begins on Monday 4th October.

We are planning for our campus to be open to all students for the start of the new academic year. We expect you to come to campus for face-to-face teaching and it will not be possible to study entirely online, unless UK government restrictions are imposed requiring a late change in approach.

International students

Please ensure that you plan your arrival in the UK so that you can attend your on-campus activities.

Currently, everyone planning to travel to the UK, whether vaccinated or not, must still follow the traffic light system of rules. We are continuing to develop our support package for international students, but we can confirm that if you are an international student joining us for Term One from a country where hotel quarantine in the UK is required, you will be able to apply for a means-tested financial contribution towards your quarantine costs. In addition, students who are in quarantine or are self-isolating will have remote access to our support and wellbeing service, while students in UCL student accommodation will receive assistance from the student residences team. 

UCL’s International Student Support webpages have more information on the advice and support available as you prepare to arrive to London, as well as orientation activities available to you as a new or returning international student. The traffic light system is likely to change before September and we will update you as soon as possible.

International students at UCL on all visas and of all nationalities will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Students who have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine overseas that is also available in the UK should receive the same vaccine for their second dose here. Students who have received the first dose of a vaccine not available in the UK should contact a GP (doctor) surgery when they arrive and inform them which vaccination they received as early as possible. If the vaccine they received for their first dose is not available in the UK, the most similar alternative should be offered. Students who have not received any COVID-19 vaccine dose before arriving in the UK are eligible to be vaccinated here and must register with a GP as soon as possible. This guidance is likely to be updated nearer to the start of term and updates will be provided in future communications. Find out more about student vaccinations.

We recognise that some students may not be able to join us in London at the very start of the year, because of continuing coronavirus travel restrictions. If coronavirus restrictions mean you are delayed in arriving in London or in completing any required quarantine, we can support you to start your studies remotely, but you should join us in-person within four weeks of your programme starting at the latest.

However, if circumstances related to the pandemic prevent you from joining us in the UK within the first four weeks of term, we will make our best endeavours to support you to follow some elements of your programme online through Term 1. This will not be the same as studying a fully online programme or studying in person: whilst we will ensure you can meet the baseline learning outcomes until you join us on campus, it will not be the same educational experience you would receive were you to attend in person. We won't be able to offer tailored support for online study, over and above the tuition and support you would normally receive on the programme, so you will need to be confident in your ability to keep up with teaching through the resources we can make available for Term 1. We have emailed you details of how we will support you in the IRDR but please also see the UCL guidance for International students who are unable to travel.

Please note that current UK Government guidelines state that if you cannot travel to the UK before 27 September, your existing Tier 4/Student Visa will become invalid. If you can travel to the UK at a later date, you will be required to apply for a new Tier 4/Student Visa. Find out more about student visas on our website.

Joining UCL for the first time or joining us in person for the first time

From now until the start of the academic year, look out for regular emails from the UCL Welcome team, which will guide you through the process of becoming a UCL student, including enrolment, visas, fees and funding, accommodation, getting to know UCL and our great city, making the most of all the opportunities there are to develop your networks, skills and interests.

Your safety

Our blended model of education will help us adapt through the coronavirus pandemic. By conducting most large group teaching online and limiting some class sizes, we are confident we can continue some interactive face to face learning, even if social distancing is required at some point in the year.

A resurgence of coronavirus is always a possibility at some point in the next academic year. However, we have robust contingency plans, based on our experience and the resources we developed this year, and we are confident that you will be able to engage with your education with us whatever the circumstances. 

Find out more about the safety measures we’re putting in place on campus and what you can do to help keep our community safe.

Page last updated 17 August 2021